It’s been awhile since we’ve had a slow-cooker meal, so I busted this one out last week and I think you’ll like it. It is not as simple as some of the previous “It’s Not Gourmet” meals, but it teaches two great techniques, properly caramelized meat and reconstituting dried chiles, so I hope you understand.

This is a great make-ahead meal that freezes well, so I hope you add it to your repertoire and keep mixing things up!

Here’s how it goes…

I was grabbing a few tubes of chorizo at Safeway and saw three pounds of natural pork “stew meat” on Manager’s Special for 30% off. I looked it over and was pleased with what I saw, so I picked it up. When I got home, I opened it up and laid it out on a sheet pan lined with paper towel. I then dabbed the top with another paper towel to dry up excess moisture and create favorable conditions for a crispy, caramelized crust.

I brought the pork out to my deck and placed my Camp Chef Dutch Oven over medium high heat on my Pro 90 stove. When the pan was “bien caliente”, I added some oil, seasoned only the meat I was going to cook in the first batch with kosher salt, and placed it salt side down into the oil. I salted the top and then used tongs to occasionally turn the meat. I ended up cooking this in two batches, removing the first batch from the pan after it was cooked, allowing the pan to  reheat and then repeating for batch two. When both batches were done, I added them back to the pan for this pretty picture.

I brought the caramelized “cerdo” (Spanish for ‘pig’) into the house and dumped it into my slow cooker crock. Then, I returned the pan to the  stove outside and added two halved onions, 4 large cloves of garlic, and approximately 25 California Chiles that my awesome wife had de-stemmed and seeded. I added two quarts of water and brought the mixture up to a simmer.

I simmered them for about 10 minutes, then put the lid on the Dutch Oven and let it sit for 20 minutes. By that time the chiles had soaked up a lot of the liquid as you can see in the picture below. I transferred the chiles, onions and garlic to my super-sweet-going-on-nine-years Vita-Prep 3 and pureed them up.

When they were well blended, they they looked like this. I love the deep color that dried chiles provide. It is tough to find this elsewhere, except when working with blood, but blood doesn’t hold up during cooking like chiles do.

I poured the chile puree over the pork and placed the crock into the warmer in the Paleo Test Kitchen. I set it on low for 10 hours and let it cook overnight.

In the morning, I gave it a stir, seasoned it with kosher salt to my liking and then portioned it out into pint containers. I ended up with six pints, but ate one for breakfast before posting this picture. After cooled, I left two pints in the fridge and froze the rest of them as these freeze beautifully.

At lunchtime, I julienned 1 sweet potato, 2 small onions, 1 poblano and 1 red bell pepper and cooked them in olive oil with kosher salt and black pepper. I started the sweet potato about 3 minutes before adding the other veggies and used a few drops of water to help steam and soften them. They were still slightly harder than I would have liked, but palatable nonetheless. Maybe cook the sweets for 5 minutes before the other veggies if you like them ‘al dente’.

I also heated up the two pints of pork, adding a little water on occasion to maintain the sauce consistency that I like. When the pork was hot and the veggies were done, I plated them up, garnished with red onion, cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil and it looked like this.

This is probably my favorite recent food pic and my favorite current creation. The only thing I would add would be some Massie Mayo, but that might ruin the picture, right?

I wish you a productive week and want to encourage you to find time to rest and relax. In this spirit, I’ll leave you with this quote from David Allen,

“Your ability to generate power (i.e. be productive) is directly proportional to your ability to relax.”

Find some time to chillax, don’t sweat the small stuff, make some Chile California, and…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

Making Po-kay in Alaska with my favorite older person.

Pork Chile California

Ingredient List:

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, butt, blade, or other fatty, dark cut, cubed
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 25 California chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 sweet potato, julienned
  • 2 small onions, julienned
  • 1 Poblano pepper, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Red onion, julienned, to garnish
  • Fresh Cilantro sprigs, to garnish

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Lay pork on a paper towel lined sheet pan, dab top of pork with another paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  2. Place an 8-quart stockpot or cast iron pot over medium high heat and add olive oil.
  3. Once pan is hot, season pork with kosher salt and place seasoned side into oil, season other side and cook until brown on all sides.
  4. Once browned on all sides, place the pork in the crock of your slow cooker.
  5. Add halved onions, smashed garlic, and California chiles to the same pot you cooked the pork in. Cover with two quarts of water and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 10 minutes, the cut the heat, lid the pot and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Transfer chiles, onion and garlic to a blender and use enough water to blend this into a puree. Season puree with salt.
  8. Pour chile puree into the slow cooker with pork and set on low for 10 hours.
  9. Once pork is done, we’ll prepare a bed of veggies to serve it on top of.
  10. Place olive oil in heated pan and add sweet potato, cook for 3-5 minutes and add a small amount of water to help steam them before adding onions, Poblano, and red pepper and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Cook until sweet potatoes are just past “al dente”, then transfer veggies to plate and top with a four block portion of pork and sauce.
  12. Garnish with red onion and cilantro and enjoy!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (27)

All of our protein is coming form the pork.  We start with three pounds of pork which weighs in at 1362g.  After it cooks down we end up with about 1130g.  42g of pork cooked equal one block which gives us about 27 blocks of protein.

Carbohydrates: (27)

We end up with a total of 11 carb blocks from all of the different onions we use.  With 2/3 of a cup equaling one block, we can measure one average a large onion being cut up into two cups which would give us three blocks per onion.  We have 3 large onions, so that would give us 9 blocks, and then 2 small onions which we are going to say come in just under two cups so we will give that 2 blocks for a total of 11 blocks form onions.  Then we have California Chiles.  Even though these are dried, we are going to use the same measurement that we use for regular peppers which is that two peppers equal one cup.  So with 25 peppers total, we get 12 blocks form these.  Then we have a sweet potato that on average weighs about 300g.  95g of sweet potato equals one block so we get about three blocks from this.  Finally we will combine our Poblano pepper and red bell pepper to give us our final carb block for a total of 27 blocks.

Fats: (27)

Our fats are coming from the olive oil.  1/3 of a teaspoon measures one block, so there are three blocks per teaspoon and therefore 9 blocks per tablespoon.  With three tablespoon being used, we have a total of 27 blocks of fat from olive oil.

Balancing Act:

We have a perfectly balanced 3 block meal form this recipe.  Divide it up into 9 delicious portions and enjoy!!



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